When you open a bottle of Antietam Creek Vineyards wine, you are enjoying a product that we have spent a year or more crafting. That bottle contains our own grapes, grown, processed, aged, and blended by us, right here at Antietam Creek Vineyards. Our ambition is to share with you the full potential of this up-and-coming viticultural region, drawing on what nature has to offer and enhancing it each step of the way.
Our area is known for its karst, or limestone, formations. If you talk to local farmers whose families have tilled the soils for generations, they will tell you, “It ain’t Washington County if you don’t hit rock.” In preparing for our plantings, we removed some rocks the size of refrigerators and left others that were simply too huge to move. That same limestone is a tremendous asset. It keeps our soils at a perfect 7.0 pH, or neutral acidity. In doing so, it imparts “terroir,” or place-specific taste elements, to our wine. In our whites, it is expressed as flintiness and freshness. In our reds, it allows the varietal fruit flavors to come through cleanly.
We manage the canopy tightly to ensure that bright sunshine and airflow reach every developing cluster. We crop to 2-3 tons per acre (a bit more for the Vidal), dropping fruit to ensure full ripening of the remaining berries. That last bit sounds straightforward, but when you’ve spent all summer tending to each vine, it is incredibly hard to discard perfect clusters toward the greater goal.
After harvesting, we process and ferment each varietal in controlled conditions and at just the right temperatures. We age each varietal in French oak barrels or stainless steel, with an eye toward preserving and enhancing its best features. We then bring those varietals together to produce balanced, bright, classic blends that vary year to year, depending on the harvest. After bottling, every bottle gets tucked away in our stone cellar at a perfect temperature, right until the moment we put our wines into your hands.
To learn more about our winemaking process, head on over to the website for Jason Burrus, our consultant winemaker. His blog illustrates many of the steps we take to our final delicious product.